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While suffering postnatal depression, Tishara took up a hobby. It became a full-time business.

KYKOE is a First Nations owned business that shares culture through hair accessories.  

Home to the iconic Indigenous scrunchie headband, all pieces have culturally-driven designs, showcasing one of a kind artwork from Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander creatives.

We spoke to the founder of KYKOE, Tishara Garrett - a proud Meriam, Butchulla, Barada Barna and Cingalese woman about her Lady Startup story.

Watch: Samantha Longmore's Lady Startup Story. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia

“Starting KYKOE was very much by accident. I was going through post-natal depression and anxiety after the birth of my third child. 

Creating was a coping mechanism and a way for me to work through that with three children under three at home with me.

It was just something that I could do for myself and it has grown from there.” 

For Tishara, the creation of KYKOE in 2019 was just a way to unwind from mum life. 

From a hobby, it turned into a side-hustle and after orders started to stack up she was faced with two options. 

Return to her 9-5 job after taking maternity leave or take on KYKOE full-time so she could care for her children.

Although running a small business while running after three children may have seemed like the least relaxing choice, Tishara decided to jump in headfirst and she hasn’t looked back since. 

“Running my own business has given me the flexibility to work around the needs of my children. I'm grateful to spend a little more time with them each day.”

Image: Supplied. 

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We asked Tishara what a typical day in the KYKOE household looks like and here’s what she had to say: 

“The day always starts with coffee having been up late the night before working. We enjoy breakfast as a family, then it's showers and getting dressed for the day. While the kids are getting dressed, I check my emails and list my business priorities (I'm a big list person). Then it's on to the school drop.

Once we get home, it's morning tea while I try to get started on my to-do list. The rest of the afternoon consists of bouncing between housework, working through my to-dos and making snacks for my kids' small bellies that are never full.

Once we've done the afternoon school pick up, it’s family and dinner time. I spend quality time with my family and once the kids are in bed I organise bags, lunches and clothes for the following day, then throw myself into completing what's left on my to-do list and anything else I can get done.

Each day is a little different, sometimes things don't go to plan. There are days when I find myself on the couch all afternoon watching Disney movies because the kids want more quality time. Finding the balance can be the most difficult. It's a constant juggling act."

Listen to Mamamia's podcast for female-run businesses: Lady Startup Stories. Post continues below.


For Tishara - KYKOE is all for her children - the name itself being a mixture of their three names. 

“I'm most proud of being an example to my children that anything is possible and we can determine our own future. My children have seen my business grow from being squeezed in the corner of our dining room, to the spare room and hopefully a bigger space in the near future.”

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Tishara completed the Lady Startup Activation Plan as a recipient of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Scholarship. 

“I decided to do the Activation Plan because, honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. I knew I wanted to grow my business, but I didn’t know how. I didn’t have any tools in my toolbox. So, when I saw the Activation Plan was happening I thought, ‘that’s a great idea.’ It’s easy, step-by-step guides and also comes with a community of women who are in the same boat as you. Participating in the scholarship allowed me to gain the knowledge and tools to grow a successful business. I believe that without participating in the Activation Plan course it would have taken me longer to achieve the growth I have.”

If you're looking to invest in a future that not only excites you but gives you the flexibility to work on your own terms, the Lady Startup Activation Plan is the no-experience needed guide to help you start, build and launch your very own small business. 

You can enrol for the Activation Plan now by clicking this link here.

We’ll be kicking off the first week of the course on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

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